what I wanted to remember

For this week’s Rest of You assignment, I decided to run my Flickr photostream through Clarifai, an image recognition model that you can use with an extremely effortless API. Thank God for that, because the Flickr API was anything but.


This was a really good (and hard-earned) moment for me.

I’ve basically been backing up my photos to Flickr ever since I started using smart phones in 2013; I’m also an adamant Samsung Galaxy user solely because of their superior cameras. As such, I figured my photo backups would be a rich database to find trends in, and considering that I had more than 20,000 photos backed up on Flickr, I decided to try to automate the process by making both APIs talk to each other.

Sadly, they only got through 4,800 photos before I hit my Clarifai processing limit—ie, somewhere in the middle of 2016. Unfortunately, the really telling data is around 2013-2015, so I’ll have to sign up with my other e-mail accounts to finish the rest of my history, or slowly work through it for the next five months.

Here’s a screenshot of Clarifai’s response to my API call, along with my code:

Tragically, I didn’t consider JSON-fiying these responses as they came in (who knew there was a difference between single and double quotes in JSON world? Probably a lot of people.), so there was a subsequent and painful formatting process to follow. Thanks, boyfriend! Note to self: learn VIM for data processing.

Below is a more legible example of their response, in JSON format, along with the respective image:

After the scary Python part was over, it was time to speak my slightly more native language, d3.js. I isolated the concept objects, threw out all but Clarifai’s top two predictions for each photo, and applied a rollup to count the unique keys. As you can see from the screenshot below, over the past 1.5 years, I photographed 451 unique concepts:

Some of these concepts were redundant (like “people” and “adult”), which will have to be dealt with later, as the foregoing work took ages to do! Below, the top twenty concepts sorted in descending order:

And here is the same data visualized in a quick d3 sketch:

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